Measurements of broadband performance are important for consumers, ISPs, edge providers, and regulators to make informed decisions regarding the choice, design, and regulation of broadband services that are increasingly regarded as essential basic infrastructure. Bauer, Lehr, and Hung (2015) explained how the shift to very high-speed broadband access services poses a challenge for managing end-user performance expectations and for regulatory policy. In this paper, we focus on the measurement challenges, examining existing broadband tests which were designed in a world of lower speed services (10s of Mbps) for their suitability and accuracy when access speeds are measured in the 100Mbps to 1 Gbps. Our analysis highlights the large variability in results depending on which of the many common tests are used. We explain why this variability is observed and offer thoughts on how the measurement infrastructure should be improved in light of the increased availability and use of broadband.
Bauer, S., W. Lehr and M. Mou (2016), “Improving the measurement and analysis of Gigabit Broadband Networks,” TPRC44, September 2016, Alexandria, VA.